Everquest 2: Mounted Combat is saved after SOE listens to players.

You’ll recall that yesterday I wrote about Everquest 2’s new producer, Smokejumper, making this statement on the removal of mounted combat:

Well, I guess it’s time to stick my head in the dragon’s mouth. Here goes nuthin’.

I’ve played with the system as it is currently on Live (rather extensively). I’ve also played the system that is on Test now.

It’s basically a change about “what looks best”.

The fact is, the Live solution doesn’t look very good. Especially if you’re playing a character with radical animations, like a Monk.

Also, we already have the conceit in the game, for things like climbing and swimming, where your mount turns off/on.

Additionally, there is no way that we can add the literally hundreds of necessary anims and hunks of code to make combat look spectacular while on a mount. (At least not with our existing task load for future features.)

So, the solution is to turn off the mount while in combat. You may ask, “When does the mount off/on occur?”

1) It doesn’t happen if you’re just aggroed. It only happens if YOU attack something.

2) We’re going to massage the code a bit (soon) so that your mount doesn’t immediately pop back in until a few seconds after you destroy your current opponent. That way, if you’re not using AoEs, the mount doesn’t keep popping back in before you can switch to a new target and continue fighting.

This system allows you to continue seeing the great combat animations and makes the game more visually appealing for all players.

Regarding the “/showmount” request…that’s not something we want to do either. If you’re getting the speed boost, other players should know why that’s occuring.

Regarding a graphics option to show the mount even while you’re in combat, we’re not doing that either. This is an aesthetic decision that keeps the game more attractive for all players. The currently munged animations that occur while riding look like (well, actually “are”) a bug. Since we don’t have time to create all the extra anims required to fix that in the perfect way (which would also make it *much* harder for us to create new mounts in the future because they would need all those extra anims also), we’re going to have to go with this solution.

We fully realize this won’t please all players, but it will result in a better looking game for most players, so that’s why we’re making the change.

Things looked dark, with the idea of a /showmount command or player-controlled switch being ruled out entirely.

However, we’ve just had this second Smokejumper post:

Late-breaking news on this feature! Basically, we hear ya. Here’s the details:

1) Mounts will still be suspended while in combat…by default.

2) However, there will also be a new graphic option that lets you set your view of mounts to one of three settings:

a) Default (mount disappears during combat, reappearing 5 seconds after you are out of combat).

b) You never see mounts at all. (Useful in raid situations or for low-end machines that are trying to get better framerate.)

c) You always see mounts, even during combat. (Useful for folks that like the way things look now and want to continue seeing things that way.)

NOTE: The mount settings are client-only, so they only affect what *you* see, not what everyone else sees. Their view is affected by their own personal setting.

Make sense?

Firstly, obviously it’s fantastic that we get to keep mounted combat. More importantly though, it is encouraging that he has shown himself willing to listen to reason, and put the extra effort in to create a solution that will leave everybody happy.

Now we just have to save the Isles. Perhaps we can persuade him to take the sensible player-choice-orientated approach to that too.

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